tv America This Morning ABC December 19, 2011 4:00am-4:30am EST
discussion about some of your assertions in the course of the debates, politifact put out a statement they did not back up your particular assertions with regard to freddie mac. here in "the des moines register" this morning in e endorsement for mitt romney, there's an observation about you -- >> david, what i said -- >> if i can finish. this is what the des moines register writes this morning, observation about michele bachmann. overall impression, an impressive fireball who can absorb and regurgitate tons of information, even if some of it turns out to be inaccurate. >> well, and the des moines register doesn't say what that inaccuracy would be. they don't point that out. and also, regarding what you just said prior, politifact was regarding my statement regarding health care. i had made a statement regarding health care. they said that that was accurate. i wasn't saying that it was regarding freddie mac. but my comments regarding freddie mac are accurate. >> let me ask you about discussion of the future of the
judiciary. this has come up as a big debating point in iowa and on the stage the other night. here is what you said as that discussion went forward in the debate the other night. >> what we need to do about it is have the -- both the president, and the united states congress, take their authority back. and i would agree with newt gingrich, that i think that the congress and the president of the united states have failed to take their authority, because now we've gotten to the point where we think the final arbiter of law is the court system. it isn't. >> i want to be clear here, would a president bachmann ignore decisions that you disagreed with that were issued by the supreme court? >> no. we don't ignore those decisions. but, again, we need to remember that the united states congress and the president of the united states have the power and authority to pass law. we have the idea that laws are ultimately made by courts today. but that isn't true. the supreme -- the congress,
together with the president, can pass law, and change what the supreme court says. they also have -- >> that's a point of fact. but that's not in dispute, congresswoman. that's never been in dispute. of course congress can pass laws. the issue here is sort of an attack on the judiciary, do you believe that supreme court justices should be elected. were that solve the problem? >> no. no. the -- the constitution is set up the way that it should be. the problem is, the supreme court, or other members of the court, have passed decisions that aren't in conformity with our constitution. that's what we take issue with. that's why it's important that the people have their representatives be able to pass laws, as the president would sign in conformity with their will. what's wrong is when judges make laws in confirmty with their own opinion. they can't make laws, it's the congress and the president that make laws. >> then what's the remedy? how would you inject more accountability into the
judiciary? >> well, the best accountability is if judges step across the line, there are -- there are measures already contained within the constitution, and the congress needs to utilize those measures in the constitution. >> so it would be open season on judges who issue rulings that politicians don't agree with? >> well, what do you mean by that? >> i'm asking you what you mean. in other words, if there are decisions -- it's up to president bachmann or congresswoman bachmann as to whether the independent judge has made a decision that you think is wrong? >> well, again, judges make their decisions, and then it's up to the legislatures, if they want to overturn what that judge states, that's up to them to overturn that decision. >> but that's the case now. so why are we talking about it? >> that's what i am talking about. taking advantage of the power that they have and utilizing it. >> let me ask you quickly about
foreign policy. you had a back and forth with congressman paul about the threat that is posed by iran. what do you think is the best way to deal with that emerging threat? and you don't believe that the united states can be in the lead in attacking iran to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon, do you? >> we have a very serious problem on our hands. i sit on the intelligence committee in the house of representatives. we have a very serious problem. we have the iaea report, which i have with me, it was released in early november. and this tells the world, from the international atomic energy agency, that there is a very real threat and a likelihood that iran could very soon gain a nuclear weapon. >> but my question -- >> that's something that the world needs to grapple with. >> what would you do, what would president bachmann do to deter that threat? you don't believe the united states should lead an attack, do you? >> i would have every alternative, and option on the table, because iran must never
have a nuclear weapon, because they have stated unequivocally, once they gain a nuclear weapon, they will use that weapon to wipe israel off of the map, and they will use it against the united states. as recently as august, and september of this year the president of iran again declared that sentiment. and if there's anything that history has taught us in the last 100 years, it is this, when a mad man speaks, we should listen. and i take this threat very seriously, because more than anything, i believe in the safety and security of the american people. >> just to be clear, in 2008, you told your hometown paper, when this threat was still very present, that the united states cannot lead this effort because we have too much work to do in iraq, and afghanistan. has your view changed? >> well, i don't know what you're referring to. but this is my opinion, is that we need to stand for our own safety, and our own security, and if you -- if we have a nation that is intending to use a nuclear weapon against us, or
against our ally israel, this will change the course of history forever. this must never happen. we need to look this threat in the eye, and the problem with ron paul is that his statements were very dangerous. he was denying the international atomic energy report, first that it existed, second, that it meant anything. and this is something that's very real, very serious, and we need to take that on. the next president of the united states needs to appreciate this threat, and needs to know exactly what to do to address this threat. >> all right, congresswoman, we'll leave it there. thank you very much, as always. >> thank you, david. and coming up, mitt romney scores an endorsement from south carolina's governor nikki haley. she joins us up next, live, to explain her decision. plus, will haley's endorsement help romney boost his prospects in a state where he's trailing gingrich by double digits, or is it just raising expectations? mike murphy thinks it is. he joins me along with "washington post" columnist e.j. dionne.
for a hot dog cart. my mother said, "well, maybe we ought to buy this hot dog cart and set it up someplace." so my parents went to bank of america. they met with the branch manager and they said, "look, we've got this little hot dog cart, and it's on a really good corner. let's see if we can buy the property." and the branch manager said, "all right, i will take a chance with the two of you." and we've been loyal to bank of america for the last 71 years. joining me now, the republican governor of south carolina, nikki haley. welcome to "meet the press," governor. >> good morning, david. it's great to be with you. >> thank you so much. we have talked about your endorsement this week of mitt romney. you've endorsed him for the presidency, which he was certainly -- he welcomed warmly. and when you spoke about it on fox news, you said the following --
>> you put all these candidates together, and you've got one perfect candidate. but you're never going to have a perfect candidate. >> why go out of your way to point that out when it comes to mitt romney? >> no, it's not that i was pointing that out in terms of mitt romney. i think it's pointing it out to all the candidates. as you go through this process and we hear from day to day what one says and one does, it's reminding the public that, look, there is no perfect candidate. but whate do need to do say what are the issues of the day? and what i know the issues of the day in south carolina, and as we hear across the country is jobs, the economy, and spending. so that's where we need to keep our focus. >> the question about whether he's a perfect candidate comes down to who's the most conservative candidate. and as you know, that's a real area of concern in your state, and among conservatives generally when it comes to mitt romney. this is how it looks in south carolina right now. it's the former speaker gingrich at 41% to romney's 21%. you said romney is a different candidate than he was in 2008, when conservatives were
particularly unhappy with him. how so? >> well, you know what i noticed, in 2008 he was very much a candidate that was focused on winning. he knew his issues. in 2011, i'm looking at a leader. this is a man who knows how he's going to lead in the first 30 days. he knowles what he wants to accomplish in the first six months. it's no longer about talking points with him. he's had four years to really think about what has gone wrong and what needs to go right. let's be clear, this is not just about picking a conservative candidate. this is about looking at washington, seeing that it is in complete chaos. saying we can't have anybody associated with washington, because we need someone to go in there and fix the problems. what i know about mitt romney is, he's taken broken businesses and he's fixed them. he took a failing olympics and he made it a successful source of pride for our country. and he went in as a governor of a state, balanced his budget, cut taxes 19 times, and he did it with an 85% democrat legislature. that says a lot. and that's a lot what washington
needs right now. >> governor, you were critical of former speaker gingrich after his appearance this may on "meet the press," when he criticized paul ryan's medicare reform plan. what,o you, is disqualifying about speaker gingrich as the nominee of the party? >> you know, it's not -- i'm not going to put someone down to make mitt romney look better. what i will tell you is all the candidacies have good, positive attributes. what was a big factor for me was i didn't want anybody associated with washington. and i wanted someone that knew what it was like to make real decisions. not just to vote, but actually make decisions. because, as a former legislator, i knew see as governor, it's very different when you make a vote versus actually making decisions. >> you look at the polling there, and i've talked to republicans around the country who say, you know, winning the primary in south carolina, one advantage a candidate can have is you're from the south. do you think rick perry will be a formidable obstacle to mitt romney winning south carolina? >> you know, i think south
carolina, what we saw over this past weekend was people were on fire. they were excited about mitt romney. they loved what he had to say. we had packed rooms, overflowing crowds, and so, you know, every candidate's out there trying to connect with the people of south carolina. and what i can tell you is the people of south carolina are very smart, very educated on their issues. they vet their kants very well. and i know at the end of the day they're going to go with who they feel is right. i strongly believe that when they hear what mitt romney has done, not what he's going to do but what he's done, and then his vision for the country, i think you're going to see mitt romney do very well in south carolina. >> you have tea party backing which is one of the reasons that romney was so please to get your endorsement, hoping to get some of that backing as well in south carolina. as we look at your own approval rate in the state, it is rather low. almost 35% lower ratings, in fact, than president obama in south carolina. and there's been something of a revolt against you among tea partiers who feel that this is a betrayal of that support from
the tea party by endorsing romney. >> well, first of all, i'll tell you you're referring to a local poll that also said that president obama was going to win south carolina. and i think everybody knows this is one of the reddest 6 the red states. and in a time where he's showing he's falling in swing states, i just don't believe that to be accurate. having said that, polls are polls. and you know, we never govern on polls. we never put a lot of weight on polls. if you look at the party, what i can tell you is there's no such thing as a tea party candidate. you can get support from the tea party. i have great respect for the tea party. and what they care about is they care about their freedoms, they care about their liberties, they care about the tenth amendment, and they care about government understanding and elected officials understanding you work for the people, not the other way around. and they want someone that understands the value of a dollar. so you will see they won't vote in a bloc, they will very much make their own decisions up. because tea party members are republicans, democrats, and independents, who want elected officials to remember exactly
who it is that they work for. >> you're endorsing mitt romney. is he the odds-on favorite to be the nominee, in your view? >> absolutely. you know, and the reason is, you have to look at the times of the day. the number one issue is job spending and the economy. we are looking at a broken washington. we need someone to go in there and fix it. this man has continued to fix everything he's ever touched. whether it was the private sector. whether it was volunteering in the olympics. whether it was going and taking a liberal state like massachusetts. he was successful every time. and now is a time where we have to say, what do we care about? we care about jobs. we need someone that understands, if you give a person a job you take care of a family. we've got a lot of families in this country we've got to take care of. >> quickly, governor, mitt romney has been supporti of your election efforts. would you serve as a running mate if you were asked? >> absolutely not. i am very thrilled to be the governor of the state of south carolina. i made a promise to the people of this state and i intend on
keeping it. >> so if you were asked you would not serve on the ticket? >> no, i would not. >> all right. governor, we'll leave it there. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. >> all right. let's turn now to columnist for "the washington post," e.j. dionne as well as republican strategist and columnist for "time" magazine, mike murphy. welcome to you both. whew, big exhale. that was a lot to discuss and a lot to chew on. mike murphy the major moment of the week still is about gingrich versus romney. and that tete-a-tete still a two-person race? >> very much so. with some ron paul support in iowa. you know, we're finally, thank goodness, getting away from all the polls, the barney poll, this poll, that poll. people are actually going to vote pretty soon. or at least in iowa they're going to caucus. all we really know now because it's very turbulent. these votes can swing. in a republican primary in the last two weeks a lot can happen, we know people showing up with real strength are gingrich, which is a surprise. i didn't see that one coming. you've got to give newt a little credit. romney, who has always been kind of the establishment, there first or second guy almost in every poll, and this ron paul
surge which i think has a ceiling on it. but it is in iowa. >> romney versus gingrich this week on the debate stage it was hands off. romney did not go after gingrich because the feeling was in the romney camp he's a pretty good counterpuncher. but if you're watching television in iowa you see romney's superpac, the outside groups, putting up an ad like this. >> newt happens has a done of baggage. he was fined $300,000 and took $1.6 million from freddie mac before it helped cause the economic meltdown. going for the jugular. >> newt is coming under an avalanche of negative advertising in iowa. ron paul has very, very tough advertisg on the air. i think what you're seeing here is, if you will, the revenge of the base in the republican party. that they have -- their votes have been used. republicans have used incendiary gingrich-style rhetoric to win elections. but now that the real guy is there, the establishment is saying no. and, there are two weeks to iowa. they have a lot of time to
blackball newt gingrich, and knock him out. and so, the question is, did this peak in a way that helps or hurts romney? you can argue that if gingrich falls, paul gets a big vote, bachmann gets some vote, romney actually has a chance of winning in iowa. but there is this, i just don't think in the base, there is this pushback against the establishment, and if they go after newt really hard, there will be a swingback to him, among some of the most conservative republicans. >> you saw in terms of defining moments of the week, this debate about the freddie mac money that gingrich received. romney said, well, he ought to give that back. newt gingrich had a rejoinder and this was it. >> i would just say, that if governor romney would like to give back all the money he's earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees, over his years, that i would be glad to then listen to him. >> wow. i mean a lot of people thought president obama couldn't have made the point any better.
real assault on capitalism. wonder what a lot of republicans thought. >> that's the problem. you generally don't go with the marxist line in republican primaries. i think newt's already started to backtrack off that. one caution i'd put is, you know, the horse race stuff that we all enjoy so immediate, this is a delegate contest. it could go a long, long time. the real question is going to be the whole month of january. what happens in florida, which is critical. iowa, critical. new hampshire, critical. and south carolina is a facr. so we're going to start the actual voting. that's a longer process in the daily ups and downs. >> when we talk about iowa, e.j., a republican i spoke to this week said, look, if michele bachmann, if ron paul, even rick perry, can make some mark in iowa, it could make that gingrich victory seem smaller. and after all, you're talking about a small percentage of delegates that are abortioned off the first four contests. >> you know, it's so bizarre the way presidential politics and punditry works. if somebody had said a month ago, well, newt gingrich won't win a big enough victory at
iowa, people would say, you're crazy. and then, if newt gingrich emerges winning iowa at all, he has already proven something. and he comes in to new hampshire, i think -- i think, pretty strong. and then the question is, does this same logic go back and hurt romney? romney was ahead of gingrich by 30 points. >> i think what's really changed in the last 20 days, and this change counts because we're close to an actual election is romney's sky-high expectations are now down. new hampshire can break romney if he didn't win, i believe. but now a smaller romney win means a lot more than it did three or four weeks ago. so this expectations calculator has been reset by the gingrich surge. >> we have a real sense, this is the question i asked speaker boehner and he sort of answered it, i guess, what's going on in the republican party? can we really say, in our poll this was so interesting, we'll put it up on the screen, 70% of republicans call themselves conservatives. 57% of republicans believe girich is one of them but only 29% of republicans believe
romney is one of them. the conservative wing of the republican party is a lot more volatile this year. >> it is. it's energized. they see romney, to some extent as a northeastern republican which is a bad thing in conservative pockets. and newt is doing what i call the old nixon '68 trick, he's really not -- he's been both places in his career. he's been a moderate, more conservative. but his tone is appealing to conservatives. newt is selling a ticket to a debate in october. where he's implying he'll stand up and do what the hearts of a lot of angry republican primary voters want, which is turn to president obama, you socialist, chew him out, out-debate him and that's emotionally attractive to the party. whether that will stick is a big, open question. >> e.j. isn't it amazing? you've been covering newt gingrich for a long time. the speaker of the house john boehner, who is in leadership with him, as well as all the rest, ankly, nobody stepped up and said, know him the best, he could be president. the feeling, in fact, what they say privately is he doesn't have the leadership skills, nor does he have the temperament, to be president. that's what they say privately.
>> and it's even -- it's quite astonishing the things you hear off the record from republicans about newt gingrich. but again, what strikes me is that a lot of these same traits that they are now deriding, when it looks like glitch might tank them against barack obama were traits when liberals pointed them out in 1994 and 1995 they said no, no, no you're missing the whole story. he is visionary. he has self-confidence. now, self-confidence is dubious. >> let me take a quick break. i want to talk about th president. how he stacks up in all of this as we keep our eyes, as well. we'll be back, as well, with our trends and takeaways. a look at what was
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protecting people's lives... [ soldier ] move out! [ male announcer ] ...without their even knowing it. that's the value of performance. northrop grumman. i want to get back to our top story. the drama in washington over the payroll tax cut extension. this is still a pitched battle between congressional republicans and the white house. the speaker of the house john boehner on the program this morning said the following -- >> it's pretty clear that i, and our members, oppose the senate bill. it's only for two months. you know, the president said we shouldn't go on vacation until we get our work done. and, frankly, house republicans agree. i believe that two months is just kicking the can down the road. >> so, e.j., what's going to happen here? and that was significant that he said this morning that he disagrees with what the senate did. it looked like that was moving toward conclusion. >> i think it was a very shrewd way for john boehner to try to
deflect the fact that house republicans might allow the payroll tax to increase on january 1st. and he doesn't want that impression out there. and i still thk, in the end, it's going to be very hard for republicans to sit there and say, yes, we'll let this tax increase go through, because it's not over a long enough period and we don't like the provision on the keystone oil pipeline. >> right. how is this resonating, do you think? >> all i do is keep looking at these polls showing 8% approval rating. i saw one at 6%. >> to be fair, it's 9%. >> i saw 6%. >> lower than the low. >> then you're in trouble. i'll give you that. >> lower than the margin of error which means it's statistically impossible to find anybody in the united states who approves of congress. so how bad can it get? >> more broadly, this is also a question about the president. and he's defending his work on the economy. he did keep the campaign promise on iraq, with the final troops coming out today. what does he face and how does he stack up as this campaign
rolls out? >> well, it's like a balance sheet. on one hand the country wants to fire him as president. his polls are lousy. mostly because of the economy. he's the top guy, buck stops somewhere. he's been ineffective on the economy. joblessness, they want to fire him. on the other side of the equation, what are the republicans going to do, because ultimately it's a race against somebody, i think a lot of republican professionals are worried about newt as naacp nominee for that reason. i've period people ta about even losing the house, so that'sen issue. and second the boom ma campaign has a lot of money and a chicago attitude. so i think it's going to be a very aggressive campaign for them and very negative. i think it's a fair fight. could go either way. >> i thought it was interesting as well with speaker boehner, if you look at the joblessnumbers in ohio, and they're coming down, sorry, the jobless rate is coming down, the question in this campaign is going to be about who gets credit for any improvements in the economy. is it going to be tougher for republicans to make the case against this president if there's a trend line moving in his favor? >> well, i think for the very reasons mike said, if there is improvement in the economy, it's
going to help barack obama just as if there's a downturn, again, it's going to hurt barack obama. but i think two things have happened to help him. one is, he looks a whole lot stronger today than he did in august, when the whole fight over the debt ceiling made him look weak. he started making an argument, and he's made it quite consistently, with a kind of discipline that he hadn't had before. he doesn't like to repeat the same speech. he stayed on it. and then you have this republican primary, and whatever comes out of this, i think the image of the republican party has been weakened by the nature of this fight, and the problems of herman cain and the problems of rick perry. i think it's not a permanent thing, but it undercuts their foundation. >> let me look quickly at our trend tracker that talks about political stories trending this morning. the romney endorsement certainly big. the iraq war ending as we've covered throughout the hour, and this payroll tax cut which is a story that's going to play out today, and i think into the early part of the week. thank you both, as always. >> good to be with you.
>> and happy holidays. >> before you go, be sure to watch our press pass conversation on our blog. this week, it's about the intersection between politics and the arts. i spoke with holland taylor, an actress familiar to many as she starred in major roles on the big and small between, "two and a half men" one of my personal favorites, "bosom buddies," but she's now starring in a new one-woman play as the late, legendary governor of texas, ann richards. you can see that on our blog, presspass.msnbc.com. we'll be back next week on christmas morning with a special discuss about the state of the country, and a look ahead to politics in the new year. tom brokaw, tom friedman, mark politics in the new year. tom brokaw, tom friedman, mark morial and kathleen
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